9 Best Charities for Women’s Empowerment (Complete 2021 List)

9 Best Charities for Women’s Empowerment (Complete 2021 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Women should have equal rights as men and should be just as empowered too. Without facing issues – domestically and internationally – such as access to education, poverty, and gender discrimination. With so many issues to tackle and so many charities supporting women’s rights, we had to ask: What are the best charities for women’s empowerment?

The best women’s empowerment charities that promote literacy and gender equality are Malala Fund, National Women’s Law Center, and Women for Women International. Charities such as the Global Fund for Women, Equality Now, and MADRE also provide funding, advocacy, and support to women’s rights issues.

Whether you want to empower women through local projects, make a change on a global scale, or promote women’s rights on gender-specific issues, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for women’s empowerment are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Women’s Empowerment Have in Common

Each of the selected charities aims to empower marginalized women through a variety of programs. Much of their work is carried out through localized action plans and campaigns that tackle the gender-specific issues hindering women from gaining access to education.

Although the charities have different approaches to their work – some use legal frameworks to tackle gender inequality, others use socio-economic frameworks – their goals remain the same: to empower women by providing the adequate tools, resources, and support needed to promote their education, so they can grow and positively impact their communities.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Women’s Empowerment

Below are our favorite charities for women’s empowerment (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Malala Fund: Providing Girls Access to Quality Education

In 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl, was the victim of a horrific shooting while en route to school. Her vocal support for girls’ education made her a target for extremists, who carried out the attack. After recovering, she created the Malala Fund in 2013 to serve as a women’s empowerment organization, dedicated to ensuring all girls had safe access to education. In 2014, Malala also became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Malala Fund currently holds a finance and accountability rating of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar – the highest rank possible. 

“To amplify girls’ voices and ensure that every girl has access to twelve years of free, safe, quality education.”

Malala Fund

What they do: The Malala Fund utilizes resources to impact local policies in its target countries that hinder girls from completing secondary education. The organization currently provides educational programs and services to empower school girls in 7 countries, including Brazil, Nigeria, and Turkey. Their work is achieved by delivering capacity-building resources to local activists, called Malala Fund Champions, to empower women through equal access to education.

What they’ve achieved: The Malala Fund has invested over $17 million in grants for educational resources provided to marginalized school girls. In addition, from 2017-2019, the organization sponsored training to 85 teachers in Turkey to better fulfill the needs of Syrian refugee students – with an estimated 11,714 schoolgirls receiving support as a result. And in 2019, the organization also delivered literacy and numeracy classes to 418 out-of-school girls in Nigeria. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Malala Fund by making donations that support girls’ education. You can also start a fundraiser to increase support for the organization within your community and raise awareness for girls’ education.

National Women’s Law Center: Legal Advocates Fighting for Gender Justice

The National Women’s Law Center was founded in 1972 in Washington, D.C. by Marcia Greenberger, a women’s activist and attorney, in response to the mistreatment of female employees at the Center of Law and Social Policy (CLSP). When the CLSP refused its female staff equal rights in the workplace, Marcia and her colleagues broke away to form the National Women’s Law Center to focus on women’s empowerment through legal advocacy and initiatives.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: The National Women’s Law Center currently holds a transparency score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. As of 2019, nearly 84% of their income was spent on legal services, research, and advocacy programs.

“We use the law in all its forms to change culture and drive solutions toward gender equity.”

National Women’s Law Center

What they do: The National Women’s Law Center uses strategic litigation to challenge harmful gender inequalities in the courts and civil society, and pushes for policy changes that protect and empower women, especially in schools and the workplace. They also provide research and policy recommendations on intersectional gender inequalities impacting women in schools. 

What they’ve achieved: The NWLC has played a leading role in many landmark legal cases, including winning state minimum wage increases that were passed in 10 US states. The organization’s lobbying efforts contributed to a 35% increase in female judges in US courts. They have also awarded grants to more than 15 civil society organizations to provide outreach services for survivors of assault and harassment. 

Ways to contribute: You can support the National Women’s Law Center by donating directly to the organization and by pledging your support to their various causes, including their work on economic justice, education, and Title IX, and health and reproductive issues.

Women for Women International: Supplying Tools of Empowerment to Women Survivors of War

Women for Women International was founded in 1993 during the Bosnian war by Zainab Salbi, to reach and empower forgotten communities of women through social and economic enrichment programs. Having survived a previous war in her native Iraq, she was passionate about helping women who were also war survivors and affected by armed conflict.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Women for Women International currently holds an accountability and transparency score of 96 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. For example, in 2019, nearly 73% of the organization’s income was spent on its capacity-building programs and services. 

“Our vision is to create a world in which all women determine the course of their lives and reach their full potential.”

Women for Women International

What they do: Women for Women International provides educational resources, job training, skills workshops, and victim support services to women affected by conflict. The organization also educates women on their voting rights, sexual and reproductive health, mental wellbeing, and other issues that help empower them within their communities beyond war. 

What they’ve achieved: Since 1993, Women For Women International has assisted nearly 519,700 women affected by war and armed conflict with support services. In 2020 alone, the organization successfully enrolled approximately 9,000 women in schools as part of its education initiative. Another 12,000 girls also graduated from school programs aided by WfWI. 

Ways to contribute: You can support Women for Women International by donating through their website, or by sponsoring a sister, which enables you to contribute directly to an individual’s success. 

​​Global Fund for Women: Funding Gender Justice Movements to Empower Women Worldwide

Global Fund for Women was founded in 1987 in California by four women’s activists: Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling, Laura Lederer, and Nita Barrow. These four women recognized the lack of funding for women’s rights movements and wanted to change the way women’s human rights groups were able to receive resources. They came together to create Global Fund for Women with the approach of delivering funding resources directly to grassroots women’s movements.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Global Fund for Women currently holds an accountability and transparency rating of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. And in 2019, nearly 81% of the organization’s income was directly spent on women’s advocacy programs and grant funding.

“We fund bold, ambitious, and expansive gender justice movements to create meaningful change that will last beyond our lifetimes.”

Global Fund for Women

What they do: Global Fund for Women provides grants and funding to grassroots women’s movements around the globe to achieve gender justice and women’s empowerment on a global scale. The organization also advocates for women’s rights through gender justice campaigns and provides research findings, case studies, and media programming on women’s issues.

What they’ve achieved: Since the organization’s inception, they have made a total of 12,242 grants to over 5,000 grassroots women’s movements, across 176 countries, including Serbia, Uganda, and Armenia. In 2019, the organization provided funding for 10,876 female leaders to end gender-based violence in their local communities.

Ways to contribute: You can support the Global Fund for Women by donating directly through their website, participating in peer-to-peer fundraising on social media, or by sporting some branded merchandise to support female empowerment. 

Girls Not Brides: Advocates for an End to Child Marriage

In September 2011, The Elders, a group of international peacebuilders and human rights defenders, created Girls Not Brides to tackle child marriages and other harmful practices, legal obstacles, and social norms that discriminate against young girls and increase insecurity.   

Their impact and transparency ratings: In 2019, approximately 80% of the organization’s total income was spent on their programs and advocacy work to promote equality and human rights, as well as prevention and relief of poverty.

“To build a world where girls are free and able to reach their full potential.”

Girls Not Brides

What they do: Girls Not Brides partners with grassroots organizations across the globe to put an end to underage marriages and other harmful practices that affect girls. The organization has partnerships and coalitions spread across 24 different countries – including Nepal, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Netherlands – and works on programs that empower young girls and enable them to reach their potential.

What they’ve achieved: Girls Not Brides reached nearly 5,000 people annually in more than 30 countries with its workshops, advocacy, and training programs. And in 2020, the charity trained 132 people in Mozambique to coordinate and implement a new law to address child marriage. In the same year, the organization provided further training to 20 child protection officials and 29 municipal authorities in Togo about harmful practices against girls.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Girls Not Brides by donating to the organization through their website. You can also support one of the organization’s campaigns, or dedicate your wedding to the cause to end harmful practices against young women.

Equality Now: Campaigners for Legislation That Protect Women’s Rights

Equality Now was founded in 1992 by three female lawyers and women’s rights activists, Jessica Neuwirth, Navanethem Pillay, and Feryal Gharahi. Together, they worked to highlight specific cases of gender discrimination and violence across the globe by increasing awareness and funding on women’s issues. By 1993, the newly-formed organization gained support from the United Nations and the founders established their key areas of focus, including harmful and violent practices against women, and legal equality.   

Their impact and transparency ratings: Equality Now currently holds an accountability and transparency rating of 93 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Gold Star of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world.”

Equality Now

What they do: Equality Now works to achieve legal equality for women and girls through legislation changes, and end sexual violence via policy shifts and advocacy. The organization also provides research and tools to empower vulnerable women, combat sex trafficking, and raise awareness on other harmful practices that negatively affect women.

What they’ve achieved: In 2019, Equality Now assisted 13,556 women and girls through legal obstacles. In the same year, the organization also trained over 3,000 public officials and civil society actors, including judges, police, and activists. The organization also provided expert support in 15 litigation cases that challenged discriminatory laws.

Ways to contribute: You can support Equality Now by donating directly through the charity’s website. You can also purchase Equality Now merchandise to show your support, or you can dedicate your birthday to the organization, by encouraging your friends and family to give donations to Equality Now.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: Promoting Womens’ Roles in Peacemaking

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was founded in 1915 during the first World War. A group of 1,136 women’s rights activists gathered in The Hague to brainstorm ideas on how to end the war. By developing WILPF, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to encourage female participation in peacemaking processes for long-term, sustainable peace.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The organization releases its returns annually to showcase their transparency and commitment to women’s rights. They also receive funding support from high-profile donors to carry out their work, including UN Women, Irish Aid, and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We create bridges and spaces for discussion so that women can play their rightful role in decision-making and help shape the responses that affect their lives and communities.”

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

What they do: Through research, policy recommendations, proposals, and programs, WILPF provides training and resources to empower women and enable them to become part of the peacemaking process. WILPF is present in 49 countries across the globe, including Colombia, India, and Lebanon, with approximately 7,000 activists working on WILPF programs within their communities.

What they’ve achieved: In 2018, WILPF supported over 15 delegations of women’s peace activists, which allowed them to participate in high-level, peacemaking meetings. In 2020, the organization provided women’s empowerment programs and awareness-raising campaigns to more than 10 countries in Africa. They also supported more than 100 mothers and their children in the Democratic Republic of Congo by providing health products to vulnerable women affected by conflict, and while campaigning for peace and disarmament. 

Ways to contribute: You can show your support to WILPF by donating to the organization directly or by joining their members program, which enables you to connect with a network of members, access training resources, and receive regular updates. 

Women Deliver: Global Advocates for Women’s Health and Gender Equality  

Women Deliver was founded in 2007 by Jill Sheffield, a women’s rights activist. She launched the organization’s renowned global conference, which brought together healthcare workers, policymakers, and advocates, to discuss the issues plaguing women, particularly maternal healthcare. After the conference’s success, Women Deliver was formally established to address the obstacles women face when obtaining maternal healthcare, as well as some of the subsequent women’s rights issues they encounter when lacking those resources, such as climate change impacts and reduced education.   

Their impact and transparency ratings: Women Deliver currently holds a finance and accountability score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. In 2019, the organization also spent approximately 92% of its income on its advocacy programs.

“To catalyze action by bringing together diverse voices and interests to drive progress for gender equality.”

Women Deliver

What they do: Women Deliver provides programs and advocacy for women’s health rights. The organization achieves this through strategic policies and frameworks, political lobbying, and by offering strengthening support and training to local activists. Women Deliver equips activists with the tools necessary for change in their communities, empower women, and drive positive change.  

What they’ve achieved: Though the organization is relatively young, it has made numerous accomplishments since its inception, including training 1000 youth advocates from 148 different countries, including Guyana, Nepal, and Sierra Leone. In 2019, the organization persuaded 11 countries to commit to revising their laws to promote gender equality, including most of the G7 countries and Australia, Chile, India, and Senegal.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Women Deliver by donating through their website or by showing your support for the organization on social media.

MADRE: Advancing Women’s Rights Through Social Participation  

MADRE was founded in 1983 by a group of women’s rights activists, poets, teachers, healthcare professionals, and artists, who had all traveled to Nicaragua and witnessed the detrimental impact the Contra War had on local women. Upon returning to the US, the women activists decided to band together and create a women’s human rights organization that would bring attention to the negative impact war had on women everywhere, and lobby for political and social change.

Their impact and transparency ratings: MADRE currently holds an accountability and transparency rating of 96 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Gold Star of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Our mission is to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face.”

MADRE

What they do: MADRE works to increase female leadership and empower women through capacity-building programs and advocacy campaigns. The organization focuses on key issues, including climate justice, ending gender violence, and female migrant rights. It currently has partners working across 9 different countries, including Nicaragua, Syria, and Kenya, and funds social movements, strengthens the skills of local activists, and mobilizes leaders to create policy change.

What they’ve achieved: Since 1983, the organization has provided $52 million in grants to women’s rights organizations in countries where conflict has had the most negative impact, including Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Guatemala. In 2019, the organization supported a local activist in Sudan by providing farming supplies to nearly 400 women. In the same year, MADRE also organized a gathering of 39 women from indigenous communities in Nicaragua to discuss advancing indigenous women’s rights. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to MADRE by donating through the organization’s website. You can also host a speaker at a community event, and volunteer on-site or remotely with the organization.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for women’s empowerment. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to women’s empowerment – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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